Eyeless in Gaza
Palestinians carry the body of 4-year-old Lama Hamdan during her funeral in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Mohammed Saber / EPA
George W. Bush and the entire State Department has been either willfully or legitimately blind to virtually every crisis beyond our shores (not that he's been any more blessedly sighted in dealing with domestic crises). So it's not surprising that Bush is turning a willfully blind and jaundiced eye to the humanitarian crisis going on in the Gaza strip.
The disinformation campaign waged by both Israel and the United States, both acting in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution that would impose a cease-fire between both Palestine and Israel, is one that would do Joseph Goebbels proud. So far the carnage has been hideously disproportionate: 100 to 1. 400 Palestinian dead compared to 4 Israeli dead. The United States' deeply-involved non-involvement merely continues a proud, longstanding right wing tradition of opposition to the UN that had laid down its roots long before Resolution 1441.
Now, as then, the United States championed a brutal invasion and occupation of a smaller, weaker nation on the pretense that it has more dangerous weapons than it actually had. The only difference is this time, we're not fighting a proxy war for Israel.
And in neither time was there even the slightest concern for the civilian casualties that would inevitably arise, lives that even the smartest of laser-guided smart bombs with all their hi-tech humanity can't even spare.
There's hardly been a word raised implicating the equally dysfunctional and corrupt government of Hosni Mubarek's Egyptian government, one with an admirable intelligence gathering apparatus that could have easily stopped the flow of arms coming into the Gaza strip and into the waiting hands of Hamas militants. Of course, there's a reason for this: Egypt has long considered Palestine, the PLO and Hamas as willing allies in the war of terror being waged by the state of Israel. Now that hostility has broken out with no end in sight, Egypt is essentially staying as far above the fray we are, saying in essence, "You're on your own."
To put it mildly, Israel is far from blameless in this matter. While it's never been definitively ascertained who fired the first rockets, one fact is obvious: Israel possesses a clear advantage both tactically and militarily, with the support of the United States (if no one else). That puts them in the catbird seat that could allow them to dictate their terms of a Hamas surrender or any other diplomatic solution.
Instead, we're seeing the brutal extermination of a people that briefly brings to mind the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan from 29 years ago that saw the murder, maiming and displacement of a full third of their population. We're hearing bleats from Israel that contemptibly sound like the abuser whining about being abused as a child. With the kind of supreme irony that only a wide palette of geopolitical history can offer, Israel in their flashbacks of the Holocaust has become akin to the Nazi party.
And it's only fitting that George W. Bush, in the last fortnight of his stupendously corrupt, illegitimate and hermetic "presidency", remains as blind to the plight of the Palestinians as he's been blind to every other crisis of the last eight years in refusing to recognize the "legitimate" Palestinian government, the minority Fatah party that the people of Palestine largely voted out.
It's a shameless trampling of human rights and of the Middle Eastern democracy that was one of our rationales for invading Iraq, a fitting end to a murderous, callous administration in which democracy was always contemptuously trumped in favor of right wing ideology.